An American politician seen as Donald Trump’s political heir apparent has blasted Australian ‘tyrants’ for their Covid-19 lockdowns – even comparing the country to communist China.
Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared Australia isn’t a free country with its two biggest cities Sydney and Melbourne holed up in lockdown with daily infections in their hundreds.
The leader of US’s third biggest state slammed the nation’s strict Covid-19 measures as ‘dramatically off the rails’ as he addressed the crowd at a International Boat Builders Expo and Conference in Tampa.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has slammed ongoing lockdowns in Australia, where cases continue to climb (pictured is Melbourne, which is in its sixth lockdown)
‘You guys, look what’s going on in Australia right now,’ Governor DeSantis said.
‘They’re enforcing, after a year-and-a-half, they’re still enforcing lockdowns by the military and that’s not a free country.’
‘It’s not a free country at all.
‘I wonder why we would still have the same diplomatic relations when they’re doing that. Is Australia freer than China, Communist China right now?’
‘I don’t know. The fact that’s even a question tells you something’s gone dramatically off the rails.’
Footage of Mr DeSantis’s speech quickly went viral online, sparking controversy – given Australian soldiers have fought beside US troops at every American-led conflict since 1950.
Australia lost 340 troops in the Korean War and another 521 in the Vietnam War, in both cases fighting communists.
‘You are a legend. I wish with all my heart that we had a leader with your clarity of vision, common sense and principles in the United Kingdom,’ one person posted.
Others pointed out Florida has recorded 53,580 Covid deaths from a population of 21.5 million.
Australia has recorded just 1,256 deaths in comparison, despite a bigger population of 25.7 million.
‘They’re enforcing, after a year-and-a-half, they’re still enforcing lockdowns by the military and that’s not a free country,’ Ron DeSantis (pictured) told a crowd in Tampa
‘Florida’s doing such a great job that they can criticise others,’ one user sarcastically commented.
Australians also weighed into the online debate.
‘Our military are not enforcing lockdowns. They have no jurisdiction to enforce public health orders,’ one commented.
Almost 60 per cent of of Florida’s population is fully vaccinated, slightly higher than the 55 per cent national average.
The state has been free of Covid-19 restrictions for over a year.
The Florida leader is seen as a possible major contender for the 2024 US Presidential race.